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Returning designer imagines new float

Clark Jellison has entered the annual Rose Parade float design contest since he was a Burbank High School student.

Now 56, Jellison is the official float design contest winner for a seventh time for the “Just Imagine” theme entry into the 2012 Pasadena Tournament of Roses.

When he was just 16 years old, his design, “Neptune’s Daughter,” took first place in the 1973 parade.

This year’s sketch, with a working title of “The Great America Dream Machine,” was a design Jellison originally submitted 10 years ago that came in second for the local contest.


“I drew this one far in advance,” said Jellison. “When the president of the Pasadena tournament announced what he was looking for in the parade, I thought this fit because it was imaginative and whimsy.”

The last time Jellison had a design selected for the Burbank float was for the 2001 parade, and it was drawn the night before the contest ended, he said. It was the only one of his designs that did not earn a Tournament award.

Jellison won the contest three more times while he was teenager and earned the title of Float Designer again in 2000.

His floats have won the Rose Trophy, Founder’s Trophy, Mayor’s Trophy and two first place titles, including his 1973 design.


The current design will go through many more revisions before a color rendering is finished in May, but it includes a “dream machine” and a young, sleeping child suspended on a bed at the front of the float.

“It still must go through the design committee, but I think there’s plenty of opportunities for all kinds of bright coloring,” Jellison said. “There can be lots of movement and it will look spectacular on the street.”

So far, a large astronaut has been added to the rear of the float.

“I think his design is something we can really work with,” said Burbank Tournament of Roses Assn. President Robert Hutt. “I know he’s hoping to have a lot of flowers in the air.”

Although Jellison — a professional florist — now lives in Palmdale, he has continued to work with the Burbank association as the official florist.

“It’s definitely a lot of work to stay involved, but this is where I started when I was 16,” he said. “I have a fondness because this has been part of my life for so long.”

The association, which is partially funded by the Burbank Parks and Recreation Department, is expecting a 5% grant reduction this year due to the city’s $8.4-million budget deficit.